Directed by: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger Original Idea by: Luc Besson Screenplay by: Stephen St. Leger, James Mather, and Luc Besson Original Music by: Alexandre Azaria Cinematography by: James Mather
Premise: Ex-CIA man Snow is accused of killing a CIA operative who was possibly selling US secrets. Snow is about to be sent to the new maximum security orbital prison MS 1 when an incident occurs there that has placed the President's daughter in danger. Snow is given the chance to go up there and save her, and with any luck, find his missing partner, who's been imprisoned there and is the only who knows the location of the briefcase that might help clear up Snow's problems. (Rated R)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Guy Pearce does a great job playing Snow. His t-shirt says Warning: Offensive and he takes it to heart. As we see from the start, he definitely does make things harder for himself than he has to. But the delivery is great! Maggie Grace slowly gets under his skin and we see more of what make the roles they're playing the unique individuals that they are. Joseph Gilgun might give you nightmares. He played his role very well. (Family is one thing, but it should only take you so far. Brrr) Everyone in the cast performed excellently.
2) Special Effects - Thumbs Up: For the most part they were spot on. The race through the city close to the beginning was very blurred, so I got the idea there'd been issues with that CGI/Reality sequence. The rest of the spots were good. The prison facility looked great, as did the docking sequences, the space sequences, and more. For it being 2079, however, a lot of the tech didn't quite sync up, some seeming very progressive and others very antiquated though they'd use the same principles. But a lot of that is probably the fault of the actual script.
3) Plot/Story - Flat: A couple of story lines are running through the film. One was incredibly detailed, making sure everything fit, while the other basically did whatever was necessary to go where they wanted it to go, even if the logistics made no sense whatsoever. So, while I was quite happy with the progress and resolution of Snow's plight, the contrivance of how the original incident at MS 1 occurred and the steps taken after the fact left much to be desired. A real facility of that type wouldn't have had the trouble encountered and reached the heights it did without a whole lot of assistance, which they did not have. It was also really hard to swallow that a facility monitoring 500 men's cryogenic stability would have to be manually corrected (and solely by one individual) on a constant basis to maintain geosynchronous orbit. So the plot was great in some cases and a total failure in others.
4) Stunts - Thumbs Up: A lot of punching, fighting, kicking, shooting and all done very well. Oddly enough, though the film is rated R, a lot of the violence, aside from the first few minutes, was clean and often more implied than seen. That being said, however, there were several great scenes, including the one in the open well.
5) Locations/Cinematography - Thumbs Up: There were very nice sweeping shots of the MS 1, the shuttles, the close orbit police department. The subway only had a hint of higher tech, but some nice shots nevertheless. The look of MS 1 inside and out was well done.
6) Costuming/Makeup - Thumbs Up: Fashion didn't look to have changed much in 60 plus years, so that was a little bit of a let down - though Snow's t-shirt was definitely worth seeing. On the makeup side, however, great job with the bruising and wounds. While not a bloody movie by any means, what there was was consistent, so kudos for the attention to detail.
Conclusion: Overall, if you ignore the bad science and prison set up, it's a fast paced, well acted film and worth a couple of hours if you've got the time to spare.
Rating: 3 out of 5 (4 on acting/sets/etc and 2 on plot/science) (Hubby's Rating: Better For Matinee)